White Spot (UBC)

It’s hard to go wrong when you go to White Spot. Being a successful B.C. restaurant known for its good food (good burgers in particular) and casual atmosphere, White Spot usually is pretty consistent in terms of food quality and service. I’ve known and loved the place since I was a little kid that got easily excited over the Pirate Paks and the chocolate coin they came with (and the stickers… and the pirate ship’s sail was pretty cool too, haha). I still like the restaurant, but I’d like to think that my taste has matured at least a little bit since those days, since I can now enjoy dishes other than just the mac ‘n’ cheese or grilled cheese sandwich.

I hadn’t heard many good things about the White Spot at UBC, and though I lived on campus for an entire year, I hadn’t visited it at all during that time due to continuous rumours of horrendous and/or slow service. However, seeing as I have money left on my UBC card that I can spend at various food outlets on campus, Emme and I decided to check this White Spot out for ourselves on a Saturday evening.

When we entered, there was someone placing a takeout order at the front, and it took a moment for one of the waiters to notice us. We were seated promptly, though, and water came quickly. Because it was Saturday and fairly early, the restaurant was almost completely empty save for about four small parties scattered throughout the relatively large restaurant (a few couples, and a small group of students). We’ve been to White Spot countless times before, obviously, so we just quickly scanned the menu and ordered.

The Legendary Burger Platter (with a Caesar Salad)

Emme knows White Spot does good burgers, and her favourite is The Legendary ($8.99). In an attempt to stay somewhat healthy, she subbed out the fries and coleslaw for a Caesar salad (+$0.99). This was a pretty good burger — but both Emme and I are of the opinion that the White Spots on the West Side aren’t as good as some of the ones downtown or the ones on the North Shore, for some reason.

Creamy Chicken Curry

When we came into the restaurant, we both smelled curry — a delicious smell — so I went with my cravings and ordered the Creamy Chicken Curry (can’t recall how much it cost!). I can’t take too much spice, though, so I asked if they could separate the curry sauce from the pilaf so I could spoon the curry over the dish myself, in an attempt to moderate the spiciness level…

Black Pearl Pilaf

It was actually really delicious. I’ve never had this dish at a White Spot before but I’m glad I tried it out. Also, the curry is hardly spicy; it has a really nice kick to it and is probably what I’d call a “mild” spicy. In any case, the chicken was cooked nicely (poached?) and plentiful. The veggies hadn’t lost their crunch and held their own, and altogether the sauce pulled the dish together, creating a tasty combination of flavours. Authentic Indian? Probably not. But tasty? Very. I would order it again.

House Salad side

… Yes, I am one of those seemingly few people that genuinely loves vegetables (no shame!). I ordered the House Salad on the side for extra veggies, but ended up using it just as a way to cool my mouth down between bites of the curry. (It was only mildly spicy, but was certainly spicy enough to slightly set my spice-sensitive mouth on fire, heh.) Not much to say about it. The veggies were very fresh, of course, and the tomatoes in particular were very juicy… The vinaigrette didn’t look “freshly made” (and may even be just from a store-bought bottle? No way to know) but was still tasty. Kind of hard to mess up a salad – they’re usually good with fresh vegetables and a nice dressing.

Anyway, Emme and I received pretty consistent service throughout the entire meal, and it was only after we were finished that we were effectively “abandoned”. We ordered tea when the waiter took our “empty” plates away, and after that came… we didn’t really receive any further service. This annoys me sometimes, but neither of us were particularly bothered since we were content with our tea and personal pots of hot water. The ambiance was quite nice – this is a nice White Spot, especially the dining room that’s surrounded by glass. The restaurant was warm and cozy the entire time as well, so kudos to the restaurant for at least having a nice atmosphere!

Both of our dishes were out within about 20 minutes, and only after our food arrived did the restaurant start to get a little busier. Clearly the key to an enjoyable visit to the White Spot at UBC is just to go on the weekend… This shouldn’t really be the case, obviously. Any restaurant should be able to perform very well if they’re not busy. The real test is whether a restaurant can perform well during its busiest times, which – according to other reviews – this White Spot apparently cannot.

It was still an enjoyable meal. At least food quality seems to be consistent among the White Spots on the West Side.

Ambiance: 4.5

Food: 4

Service: 3.5

Overall: 4

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